SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The start of the New Year meant much of the same for the Utah Jazz.
Fall behind early, rally behind the bench, then have All-Star Deron Williams bring it home.
That formula worked again Saturday night in a 98-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Williams scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and passed to rookie Gordon Hayward for a dunk to seal it with 18.9 seconds left as Utah won its eighth straight at home against the Grizzlies to improve to 23-11.
``Crunch time is when your best player steps up,' forward Paul Millsap said about Williams. ``He knew it was his time.'
Millsap led the Jazz with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 13 in the first half when Utah built a 48-38 lead.
The biggest spark came from Utah's backups, which outscored the Grizzlies reserves 32-6.
``Our bench has been a strong point for us all season,' Williams said of a unit led by Earl Watson, Ronnie Price and Gordon Hayward. ``It's contagious. I wish the first group could do that. That way we could keep it going rather than have to have . . . the second group bring us back.'
Price's jam and 3-pointer gave the Jazz a 38-28 second-quarter lead. Then Hayward showed how much he has grown as a player 34 games into the season.
``Basketball is a game of confidence,' Hayward said. ``Everybody in the NBA can play. It's whether they can play their own game and not go out there and think. I'm definitely trying to go out there and not think as much and just play.'
He showed his athleticism on fast-break layups and a more aggressive side, capped by the authoritative dunk for Utah's final points.
``You try to go up soft, it's not going to work (in the NBA),' Hayward said. ``For me, it's all about trying to learn. With each game, it's going to get better and better and I'm going to get better and better.'
Williams said the team also is growing more confident in Hayward, who played nearly 30 minutes, including much of the fourth quarter when the game was tight.
``The minutes and the confidence is all he needed,' Williams said about the former Butler star. ``He's playing good, picking up on things. It means he's learning on the job.'
Zach Randolph led Memphis with 27 points and 16 rebounds. O.J. Mayo, who was back in the starting lineup, added 18 but was 3 of 9 from 3-pointer range.
Both teams were missing key players because of the illness.
Memphis was without top scorer Rudy Gay (20.7 points). Gay dressed but did not play because of a stomach virus.
C.J. Miles, who sparked Utah with 20 points in a Dec. 6 win over Memphis, dressed but did not play because of flu-like symptoms.
Reserve Mehmet Okur missed his second straight game for Utah because of a back injury and the Jazz also lost another big man when Francisco Elson was ejected with 2:51 left in the first half after picking up two technicals protesting a foul against Marc Gasol.
``It happened so fast I don't think he realized what happened,' Millsap said.
Utah would fall behind 8-0 to start the game but was even at 21 after the first quarter.
The Jazz led by as many as 13 points in the second half before Memphis fought back to take a 79-78 lead on Mayo's 3-pointer with 8 minutes remaining.
From there, the game went back and forth. It was tied at 81 and 83 before Williams got going, scoring 10 of Utah's next 15 points.
``We played pretty good for 46 minutes defensively,' said Gasol, whose Grizzlies outrebounded Utah 43-35.
``We were getting stops, and then we were turning the ball over,' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of the Grizzlies' 19 turnovers. ``Then when we started scoring, we couldn't get stops. They made some big plays. We just didn't get it done.'
NOTES: Saturday was only the 16th time in his career that Williams failed to record an assist in a first half, and the first since his rookie season. ... Grizzlies G Mike Conley had X-rays of his ribs taken at halftime. They were negative and he played through the injury in the second half and finished with 17 points. ... The Grizzlies shot just 38.2 percent in the first half and committed 14 turnovers. ... The Grizzlies are now 1-10 in their last 11 games vs. the Jazz. ... Randolph had his 20th double-double of the season.
The Associated Press News Service
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